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9 января 2008 года. 
Grand gaffe still haunts Leaf (Ponikarovski) // London Free Press


ANAHEIM -- The demon came looming from the North Carolina night -- four feet tall, six feet wide, nearly transparent white -- to lure a mesmerized Alexei Ponikarovsky before snatching his soul.

Three weeks later, that empty net in Raleigh still haunts the Toronto Maple Leafs forward, who hasn't had a point in eight games since.

Meanwhile, a team that should have won that night 3-1 over the Huricanes to impove its 7-2 run, lost in overtime and has slumped to 2-4-2 in the interim.

Ponikarovsky, stripped by Cory Stillman of the 'Canes and then party to the last-minute tying goal, eventually lost his first-line role with Mats Sundin.

"He's not been the same player," coach Paul Maurice summed up yesterday. "Alexei is a good man and I hope he's not carrying that game with him. But at a certain point, there are no other options. He has to play better."

Ponikarovsky had been working well with Nik Antropov and Sundin, and was up to 11 goals at the time of the grand gaffe. He seemed a cinch to tie last year's career high of 21. He had a three-point game just two nights before against Atlanta.

"I don't think it has haunted me at all," Ponikarovsky insisted. "Sometimes you have ups and downs. That was obviously one of the downs.

"But you battle back and try to get a goal."

Ponikarovsky and Antropov find themselves in the same pickle as other Leaf forwards who were moved off the first line -- prove they can score without points machine Mats Sundin as their centre.

"We can do the same thing with Kyle Wellwood there," Ponikarovsky said of the line's most recent facelift.

Both the six-foot-four Ponikarovsky and the six-foot-six Antropov should come in handy tonight against the Ducks, a team that championed big men playing down low when they won the Stanley Cup last spring. 

Страничка Алексея Поникаровсого на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


"ЗВЁЗДЫ С ВОСТОКА" @ c 1997 года